Shadow Divers - Robert Kurson

Shadow Divers

By Robert Kurson

  • Release Date: 2004-06-29
  • Genre: Military
Score: 4.5
From 233 Ratings


In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm comes a true tale of riveting adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve a great historical mystery–and make history themselves.

For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships.

But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bones–all buried under decades of accumulated sediment.

No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location.

Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end. Chatterton and Kohler, at first bitter rivals, would be drawn into a friendship that deepened to an almost mystical sense of brotherhood with each other and with the drowned U-boat sailors–former enemies of their country. As the men’s marriages frayed under the pressure of a shared obsession, their dives grew more daring, and each realized that he was hunting more than the identities of a lost U-boat and its nameless crew.

Author Robert Kurson’s account of this quest is at once thrilling and emotionally complex, and it is written with a vivid sense of what divers actually experience when they meet the dangers of the ocean’s underworld. The story of Shadow Divers often seems too amazing to be true, but it all happened, two hundred thirty feet down, in the deep blue sea.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Robert Kurson's Pirate Hunters.


  • Hard to Put Down

    By Longjing54
    A rich, well-told account of the discovery, exploration, and documentation of the unknown wreck of a WW II U-boat off the coast of New Jersey. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in quests, extreme sports, the sea, diving, or history.
  • Now i can scratch that off my bucket list .........

    By IslandDraft
    Having started scuba diving at an early age and gone through the trials and tribulations of learning more less the hard way and always wondering about wreck diving and deep diving but never really having the guts to do it, I have shadow divers as my window to that particular experience. And after reading the book I don't have any regrets for not following that path, but the book was so excellent both in the writing and the story, I had a hard time setting it down. If you enjoy adventure, some technical writing and the unknown, I would strongly suggest this book. It was well worth the purchase although It was a Valentine's Day present for me. Gracias Mi Amor. And thank you for a great read Robert.
  • History and adventure

    By Larry Swonke
    Very well written book that combines both historical facts and elements of adventure. The author did extensive research into u boats and is evidenced in the detailed facts in the book.
  • Excellent!

    By Asxroma
    Excellent book. Research is amazing. True accounts from reliable sources. The author really took his time to gather all the information. Very well written and great read. If you like scuba it is a must. If you don't you will highly enjoy the book as well. Five stars!
  • Wonderful Tale

    By D Ursa
    I you enjoy diving, adventure, history, WWII, the truth, or stories of men of character, this book will barely leave your hands once you start to read.
  • Great Read

    By ndlexington
    Great read. Good mix of history and mystery.
  • Outstanding !

    By Rob Forch
    The book is an outstanding insight to the world or Tec Dining that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you know John and Richie like I do, or have seen the show "Deep Sea Detectives", the history makes it all come together. Well written book. AAA+++
  • Don't skip this

    By landa73
    A tremendous read for any fan of diving, history or just good non-fiction. Beautifully written and well paced. Don't miss it.
  • Fantastic read

    By cjd495
    I read this book inside of a week because I couldn't put it down. If you like true adventures and history with some light military history thrown in, you will love this book.
  • Shadow Divers

    By Jack W
    Great book, hard to put down. These guys are amazing